Matt's essential software list

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  • Title: Matt's essential software list
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  • Summary: My Software list for 2011
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I've written in the past about the steps I take to perform a clean install and listed the software I use on a daily basis. Today I'll walk you through my software for 2011 - the applications that I find indispensible as a Web Developer for the Windows stack. Alas, I won't be going into as much detail as Scott Hanselman, more of a summary to look back on in a year or two and compare any changes.

Please note: these are listed in alphabetical order and for each application, assume I use the latest version (unless otherwise stated):

  • 7-Zip - free app for handling archives, including rar and iso
  • Adobe Reader - essential for handling all the pdf files that you come across (specifications, ebooks etc.)
  • CCleaner - I generally avoid software that claims to clean up your PC, but this actually works and ensures your system remains as quick as day 1
  • Combined Community Codec Pack - ensure you have all the codecs you'll ever need and opt for Media Player Home Cinema whilst installing
  • CutePDF Writer - installs as an additional printer, allowing you to print virtually anything to a PDF file
  • Dropbox - access your files anywhere and everywhere, there's even an iPhone app available
  • Fiddler2 - essential for analysing HTTP traffic
  • FileZilla - both the client and server are great for setting up FTP connectivity
  • Google Chrome - the fastest web browser in the world, my personal favourite
  • Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer - not essential, but I use it for getting access to my Google Bookmarks
  • IIS Search Engine Optimization Toolkit - this tool gives you more information than many paid SEO companies would be able to, a great starting point for SEO on your site(s)
  • IIS URL Rewrite Module - SlickCMS uses this for rewriting URLs on IIS7 and it also works well with WordPress/PHP installs
  • ImgBurn - a useful piece of software for burning CDs and DVDs, giving you more control than the Windows offering
  • iTunes - there's so much I dislike about iTunes, but I've been using it since 2004; it needs a complete overhaul to improve performance but is essential for us iPhone/iPod/i[something] users
  • - a handy scrobbler that not only monitors what you listen to via iTunes, but also gives you access to your library for listening as a desktop app, as I find the web GUI to be sluggish at times
  • Microsoft .NET Framework - a given considering my career, but even for general Windows users, it's often a requirement
  • Microsoft Office 2010 - 2003 was a huge improvement over 2000/XP, 2007 was a new start and 2010 is building upon its success
  • Microsoft Security Essentials - I've used Norton, AVG and Avast (amongst others) for consumer anti virus protection, but Microsoft's own is the best to date, with an unobtrusive attitude
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 - again, kinda essential as a Windows Web Developer; there's also a free version!
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 - I find it a good improvement over 2008 and love the dual monitor features
  • Mozilla Firefox - my previous browser of choice (until Chrome came along), but lately I've found it to be slow and sometimes unresponsive, however the plugins make it a worthwhile addition
  • Notepad++ - for opening and authoring single code files, this is essential
  • Opera - if you're developing for the web, ensure you have all the major browsers to hand
  • Paint.NET - at work, the designers get Photoshop, us developers get Microsoft Paint: so I go one better and opt for this free app to edit pictures
  • Picasa - great for organising and viewing your photos, I especially like the lightbox style preview
  • Safari - like Opera, essential for browser testing, otherwise I wouldn't worry (Chrome is where it's at)
  • Skype - I use it for the instant messaging and VOIP features, but it offers so much more
  • Spotify - think of it as free music, but legal
  • Terminals - I've written a whole post on Terminals in the past, it warrants that much attention
  • TortoiseSVN - for integrating with an SVN server, this is a must; look to Visual SVN Server for the server side of things
  • TreeSize Free - Rackspace, Dedipower and I use this for scanning directories to locate that elusive log file that's bloating by the minute
  • WinMerge - alongside TortoiseSVN, I find this invaluable when committing work back to the repository
  • XML Notepad 2007 - for viewing XML files, this works well; but I find larger XML files can cause lockups due to the nature of the format

Found something in the list you hadn't heard of, or that you're already using? Let me know what you think and if you have anything additional to recommend.

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